Why DR Congo Wants to Join the EAC and Raila Odinga’s Hand in It

    Raila Odinga and DRC President Felix Tshekedi in Nairobi.

    The Democratic Republic of Congo has expressed interest in joining the East African Community (EAC).Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi formally wrote to his counterpart Paul Kagame, who is also the current EAC chairman. This comes after a wide range of consultations which Raila Odinga played a critical role.

    In the letter, President Tshisekedi says his country’s request is based on growing relations with the EAC member states.The EAC currently has six members, including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi and Uganda.

    With DRC as part of EAC Kenya will have new business fields.

    Rwanda’s State Minister for EAC affairs has  placed a formal request to have the DR Congo’s interest put into the next EAC Heads of State Summit.

    “There is a procedure that needs to be undertaken, and then visits on the ground for verification of several issues. A similar exercise is being undertaken regarding the request by Somalia,” Nduhungirehe said.

    “I can’t tell exactly how long it will take but if the EAC Summit agrees with the request, I think the procedure will be launched and we hope that DR Congo will officially join the community as soon as possible.”

    According to Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at the EAC Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania, when a country officially applies to join EAC, the Chairperson of the Community directs their country’s Minister in charge of EAC affairs to officially inform the Secretariat.

    DRC Congo and Kenya enjoy strong ties.

    Raila Odinga has been making numerous trips to the country and it now emerges having DRC as part of the EACC has been on top of his agenda. With the DRC as part of East African Community, Kenyans will have an expanded market for their goods and services as well as new territory to conduct their businesses.

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